KACEY MUSGRAVES – ” Golden Hour “

Posted: May 31, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Built for crossover success ... Kacey Musgraves.

Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour is pretty diverting. She has talked about the influence of Sade on her work, of “futurism … space country, galactic cosmic country” and of how the album’s closing track Rainbow is intended to speak to “LGBTQ youth”. There is also mention of a song called Mother, which you might reasonably describe as part of a grand country tradition of lachrymose songs about momma, or the absence thereof – “I’m just sitting here thinking about the time that’s slipping, and missing my mother,” she sings – albeit with a pretty distinctive twist. It was apparently written after Musgraves’ mum sent her a text with a photo of her hands, which the singer-songwriter received while she was tripping on LSD, an experience the song also describes: “Bursting with empathy, I’m feeling everything … It’s the music in me and all of the colours.”

Acid, futurism, LGTBQ rights: you don’t have to be a dedicated student of Nashville’s history to know that this is not the usual fare dished up by Music City’s mainstream stars. But then, as was established the moment her major label debut, Same Trailer Different Park, appeared in 2013, Musgraves is not your usual Nashville star. It was released just as bro country’s lunkheaded restatement of at least some of the genre’s core values – macho songs about boozing, babes, trucks and guns – was reaching its commercial zenith, and signalled the arrival of an artist not bent on iconoclasm so much as gently but firmly pushing at the boundaries of modern country music’s outlook. Her single Follow Your Arrow caused vast consternation among country radio programmers for advocating same-sex relationships and occasionally smoking a joint “if that’s what you’re into”. The critical acclaim was off the scale – here, claimed one writer, was the woman “who could save country music from itself” – but her sales were solid rather than spectacular. Nevertheless, when even bro country’s bantzmeister-in-chief starts writing songs about tolerance and marriage equality – “I believe you love who you love – ain’t nothing you should ever be ashamed of,” sang Luke Bryan on last year’s track Most People Are Good – it’s hard to argue that things haven’t shifted at least a little in her wake

The success of High Horse is indicative of the ease and confidence that courses through Golden Hour. Regardless of genre, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better collection of pop songs this year. Everything clicks perfectly, but the writing has an effortless air; it never sounds as if it’s trying too hard to make a commercial impact, it never cloys, and the influences never swallow the character of the artist who made it. In recent years, there have been plenty of artists who’ve clumsily tried to graft the sound of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours on to their own. On Lonely Weekend, possibly the best track here, Musgraves succeeds in capturing some of that album’s dreamy atmosphere

Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

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